Anonymous asked in SportsHockey · 1 decade ago

How do they make the NHL schedule? ?

I don't mean for the playoffs, i mean just the normal season games.

also do you only play the teams in your own conference until the playoffs? or do you only play with teams in your own division?

how do they decide who will play who in the playoffs?

i'm new at hockey so please use simple terms or explain :D


Also, what's a playoff run?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It wasn't that long ago that the NHL's regular season schedule was made up by hand, every year, usually under the charge of one guy who did it for years. Now, computers are heavily involved, but there are a bunch of factors that help shape the schedule. It isn't all random.

    Quick basics: There are thirty NHL teams (6 in Canada, 24 in the US), two Conferences (West and East), six Divisions, 3 divisions in each Conference and five teams in each division; (see links for more info). (this has a list of all conference and divisional separations and all the teams therein)

    (This one has standings, with tabs to separate them by conference, division, and more.)|STN...

    There have been a lot of changes in the 82 game schedule format. The idea behind how the schedule is created changes as well, depending on what the League is trying to accomplish or highlight. After the lockout (2005) they tried to increase Divisional rivalries, but this decreased the amount of games against the other conference (inter-conference games) and led to unbalanced standings, schedules, and rivalries. So for example Toronto would only go to Calgary, Detroit, etc every three years and vice-versa, old West/East rivalries dwindled from lack of games, and semi-strong teams in weak divisions had a free ride through 1/3 of the season, and so on.

    They are trying now to keep some of this but allow for more games outside the conference AND division, so West meets East a bit more often and the Divisions don't get stale as quickly (supposedly!), but still keeps the focus one one's own Conference. For instance, there are certain criteria for each team in the schedule: In 2008-09 they face Divisional teams six times (after the lockout it had been 8, for a total of 32 of 82 games against teams in one's own division; now it's 24 of 82 games against your own division), must face EVERY other team in the NHL (as opposed to post-2005-lockout, which had one Division from the other Conference NOT play against your team [that's five teams your team didn't see AT ALL for a whole year and only TWICE in THREE years, unless in the Stanley Cup Final!], in rotation year to year.), play 18 inter-conference teams (as opposed to 10 last year), etc. Canadian teams in opposite conferences now meet each other twice a year (once in each other's barn), which has re-established an important bond (they were only meeting twice every three years since 2005).

    There are other variables, such as television scheduling (CBC's Hockey Night In Canada alone makes an impact on how the schedule is made, with at least two of the six Canadian teams playing every Saturday night through the regular season), other events in home arenas (other sports, concerts), special events (such as Olympic breaks, or things like New Years rivalry games, Montreal's anniversary, etc), home and away balances, etc. All this info will be fed into a computer and may be tweaked if needed.

    Also remember, they have only just started with this schedule template. There may be changes as early as next year, or they may ride it out and see how it goes for a few. Either way, similar factors will be fed into the computer next year too. Sometimes a team gets "screwed", with long road stretches when other teams have a nice even schedules, or with seemingly more difficult teams in bunches or back-to-back stands, but they TRY to even it all out over time, usually in later seasons. Again, it changes year to year. Of course, it seems every year "our" teams get screwed...doubled games, a bunch of the same team at once and then not for the rest of the year, etc. There are still arguments with how and why the schedule should be formatted and will be for years. Thirty teams, 82 games...thousands of possibilities, and there have been many variations in the past!

    Check out this link for a quick look at some of the changes and rationalisation of this year's new schedule.

    Full NHL schedule.

    Playoff structure is different; it has also changed over time, but has been the same for a number of years now. There are 4 playoff rounds, and for the first 3 rounds teams play other clubs from their OWN conference. The Final round is fought between the Western and Eastern Conference Champs, which means whoever wins the first three rounds of the playoffs within their own conference (West or East). Eight teams from each conference make the playoffs; whichever teams earn the most regular season points in their divisions get the top three spots in their conference, and from there the standings go by which teams have earned the most points overall (see links for info). Each Conference has its own standings (as well as League standings); for the playoffs the team in 1st place in the conference plays the one in 8th, the one in 2nd plays the one in 7th, 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th. In each round half the teams are eliminated, and the same pattern of highest-lowest applies throughout. The higher ranked team has home ice advantage.

    See the link for more info on regular season AND playoff scheduling

    As for a playoff run, it is what it sounds like...every team enters the playoffs with (ostensibly) a clean slate and a shot to win the Cup, and makes a run for it. A "Cup run" can be used in the same way as "playoff run", but are not synonymous. Playoff runs often can be used even if a team doesn't go past the first round, or isn't expected to go far and doesn't, whereas a Cup run usually refers to a run that actually threatens to win the Cup and takes it to the later rounds.

    It's tough, but even underdog (Cinderella) teams have made it all the way, or at least pretty far, so there can be all types of Cup/playoff runs. Some people don't care how many or few games their teams plays in the post-season, they call it a "Cup run", but usually it refers to the time and events that took a team to (or close to) winning the Stanley Cup. For instance, many Canadians still talk about Calgary's Cup run of 2004, when a Cinderella team (Flames) beat three division champions and went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before eventually losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Teams don't have to win, but they don't have to lose either. Last year, both the Penguins and Red Wings had obvious Cup runs (because they made the Finals), and pretty much every team who has ever played well and won the Cup (or came close) can claim it as a Cup run. Many of the other teams last year who didn't make it past the second or third round will claim to have had Cup runs or a good playoff run for reasons like they accomplished more than in recent years or did better than expected, etc.

    Any questions about these or other hockey topics, just ask.

    Source(s): Experience Hockey Writing
  • 1 decade ago

    i would have to agree with the bourbon and dart theory. This season they actually had some regular season games while other teams had not played all their preseason games. I think nhl head office should shake their heads a little. As for the playoffs, there is the western and eastern conferences. each conference contains 3 separate divisions. the 3 division leaders in each conference get the top 3 spots going into the playoffs with the 5 remaining spots going to the teams with the highest point totals. i hope this helps

  • 4 years ago

    my dad actually had some input on the making of the schedule and basically he said they just got really stoned and cranked out some random combos for teams to play.

  • 1 decade ago

    They pull the teams out of a hat. How else do you suppose toronto will have played the rangers,hurricanes, Canadians and bruins twice each within their first 15 games.

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  • 1 decade ago

    this year they made so that each team faced each other at least once but they mostly face teams in the division

  • 1 decade ago

    With a bottle of bourbon, some darts and a blindfold.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is all done by computer.

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